As the Hollywood strike continues, yet another well-known actor is going public to expose the sometimes harsh reality of life in the industry.
This time, it’s veteran actor William Stanford Davis, 71, who currently stars in the Emmy-winning comedy series Abbott Elementary.
Davis posted a short video on social media, revealing a measly recent residual cheque for an unnamed acting job.
“I’ve been a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild for 32 years, and for those 32 years, my wages haven’t increased at all. I want to give you an example of what a residual cheque looks like. I showed this to my brother and he fell over laughing… it ain’t f**king funny,” he said, before holding the cheque up to the screen.
The amount? Exactly three cents.
“That’s a residual cheque,” he continued. “I’m not going to say who produced it, because I can’t tell you who these cheap motherf***ers are. But anyway, I’m standing in solidarity with the writers, and we’re going to be on strike until we get what we need to make a living.”
Lest anyone think the tiny cheque was an anomaly, Davis also shared another of his residual cheques in another video posted to social media.
This time, the figure was slightly higher: A whole five cents.
“You see that? Can you believe that? That’s [five] cents,” he said. “The postage, the paper, everything costs more than that. That’s what they think of us as actors. This is why we’re on strike for better wages, for better residuals [and] for a piece of the subscription and to not give in to AI.”
Davis’ videos come after several other high-profile actors have opened up about receiving tiny residual cheques for their work in successful TV shows.
Former This Is Us star Mandy Moore told The Hollywood Reporterresidual payments were a “huge issue” while on the picket lines this week.
“We’re in incredibly fortunate positions as working actors having been on shows that found tremendous success in one way or another … but many actors in our position for years before us were able to live off of residuals or at least pay their bills,” she said.
Moore claimed she had received “very tiny, like 81-cent cheques” from the streaming residuals for the show, which ran for 106 episodes and was watching by millions of people in the US and around the world.
Several cast members of the Netflix hit Orange Is The New Black also spoke up last week, revealing that despite starring in one of the biggest hits of the streaming era, many of them had to keep their day jobs and receive virtually no ongoing payments for the series.
Actress Kimiko Glenn, who disrobed for several explicit sex scenes in the series, fumed about the lack of ongoing payment for her work.
“Whether or not we got paid upfront — my tits live on in perpetuity. I deserve to get paid for as many f**king streams as that s**t gets,” she said.
The strike has seen some 160,000 film and television actors join members of the Writers Guild of America who are already on the picket lines, in what is the first joint walkout between the two unions since 1960.
Members of both unions are demanding increases in pay and residuals to reflect the streaming TV landscape, plus guarantees they will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).